Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Not-So-Inconvenient Renewal: What Happens When Managers Change the Way They Manage

If you have been following my work over the last couple of years, you may be wondering if I actually practice what I preach with regards to organization renewal, change management, and most importantly, people management.

Every three years, the federal public service of Canada administers a government-wide survey called the Public Service Employee Survey (PSES). The 2005 PSES was administered just a week before I joined my current organization. The last PSES was administered in November and December 2008, and the results were released a few weeks ago. I have done the analysis, and the results speak for themselves: renewal is possible, and yes, people management does make a difference!

I have just put together a document entitled "A Not-So-Inconvenient Renewal: What Happens When Managers Change the Way They Manage". It presents the dramatic progress made by my organization between 2005 and 2008, as measured by the PSES.

The document is an epilogue to An Inconvenient Renewal: Are Public Service Managers Ready to Change the Way They Manage?, a paper I released in 2007 in which I stressed the importance of good people management and argued that while top-down change has its merits, many of the things that would make the most significant and palpable difference don’t happen at the top of the organization, but rather at the field level in the everyday interactions between managers and their employees.

I hope the PSES results will convince you that when managers change the way they manage, the ripple effects can be felt throughout the organization. To learn more about the renewal efforts in my organization, you may browse through some of the links featured in the side-bar of my blog under the header "My Websites, Papers, and Other Initiatives".

Enjoy you reading, and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any question.


Craig Sellars said...

Hello Etienne,

Great report. This will provide even more information to support future management reform in the public service as a whole.

84% of indicators improved by an average of 17% --- WOW!

"25. Overall, I am satisfied with my career progress in the Public Service." -- 49% increase in Respondents Who Answered “Significantly” or “Extremely”. Phenomenal.

Great work Etienne. I will share this with our Youth Network!

Craig Sellars

Pat said...

Hi Etienne;
In reviewing the report, I clicked on the "Managing Employee Performance" link. Right off the bat however,....I like your choice of the sequencing of those 3 particular words. While being involved in this area of my organization for some time, observation has been that the term "performance management" comes very heavily laden with baggage! As your deck suggests, when this term is used, most assume that it simply refers to an annual review, or worse still, the completion of a required form. Before giving a presentation, I decided to see if by simply reversing the words, a new interpretation might happen. So instead of calling it "performance management" (which sounds like a program or initiative), I changed it to a more dynamic, action sounding term - "managing performance", and used that throughout the rest of my presentation. So when I talked about the fact that managing performance was a more holistic approach, and encompassed the things that you include under Managing Organizational Performance, and that they were inter-related with managing employee performance,.......they got it! Or at least it started to sink in. So, a very long winded peramble to saying,...I wonder if we stopped using the term "performance management", and rather started consistently talking about helping leaders "manage performance",....if we could change the perception? Whaddya think?

Etienne Laliberté said...

Hi Craig,

Lots have been written on how language changes our perceptions and conceptions of things. This is actually an area where the public service does well Just think about the use of terms like "accountability", "right fit", "conversations", etc.

So in answer to your question, yes, I do think that if we systematically used expressions such as "managing employee performance" instead of "performance management", managers and executives would start changing how they think about performance, and consequently would start valuing the people-side of management a little more.

Excellent comment by the way!